Croatia charges footballers Modric, Lovren for perjury again

Modric and Lovren charged with giving false testimony in a multimillion-euro corruption trial involving former Dinamo leader Zdravko Mamic.

Luka Modric
Croatia's Luka Modric was named Ballon d'Or winner and UEFA player of the year in 2018 [File: Yves Herman/Reuters]

Real Madrid’s footballer Luka Modric and former Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren have been charged again in Croatia with allegedly giving false testimony about financial deals with a former Dinamo Zagreb director.

On Thursday, Croatia’s public prosecutors said there was enough evidence that Croatia captain Modric and Lovren falsely testified during the original trial.

Both players appeared in 2017 as witnesses during the multimillion-euro corruption trial of Zdravko Mamic, providing details of their transfers from the current Croatia champions.

They were charged with committing perjury and failing to declare taxes on their multimillion-euro transfers to foreign clubs.

But a Croatian court lifted those accusations against the two on the eve of the 2018 World Cup where they played with Croatia reaching the final.

Modric won FIFA’s Golden Ball as the best player at the tournament.

The Croatian court had then ruled there was not enough evidence that Modric – the Ballon d’Or winner and UEFA player of the year in 2018 – and Lovren committed the criminal offence of perjury.

The former Dinamo chief was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for embezzlement and tax fraud in a multimillion-euro case but fled to Bosnia before the guilty verdict was announced.

He was found guilty in 2018 on several charges that included making illegal profits on player transfers from his time at the helm of Croatian team Dinamo Zagreb, including the deals that took Modric to Tottenham in 2008 and Lovren to Lyon in 2010.

The verdict against Mamic said that he signed personal contracts with players during their early development years at Dinamo Zagreb, including Modric and Lovren, obliging them to share their earnings with him.

Once they received the money from their contract, they would pay Mamic off.

Mamic claims that some of that money was never paid to him, and that Modric and Lovren are “accomplices” in the corruption case against him.

“We met and signed a money-sharing agreement; [Modric] withdrew the money, gave a part to me,” Mamic claimed when talking to reporters in Bosnia earlier this month.

“No player in history has ever paid a single penny of taxes,” he said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies